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tv   BBC Newsnight  PBS  August 4, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT

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tershire. until then, good-bye. captions by: midwest captioning des moines, ia
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>> this is "bbc newsnight." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in. working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of industries. what can we do for you? >> a terrorist outrage in belarus, but did the government
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torture and execute two of innocent men as a result? ♪ this week, we bring you an investigation filmed under cover in the secretive eastern european state of belarus and find disturbing evidence following one of the country's worst terrorist attacks. >> over that time -- [inaudible] the boys had no choice. >> we hear how the civil war in syria is threatening the stability of neighboring jordan. >> we used to be able to fill much closer to the border. but now the military is so concerned about the possibility of violence spilling across this border, they pushed us back. >> hello. the eastern european state of belarus is regarded as something of an annulled -- anomaly by much of the international
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community. its president has been called europe's last dictator. he has been in office for 18 years and has been accused of human rights abuses and vote- rigging. two years ago, he was condemned for a violent crackdown on demonstrators. last march, two men were executed after a bombing on the underground killed 15 people. our reporter has traveled undercover to belarus to investigate claims of torture in a secret kgb prison there. they talk about the guilt the executed men. >> the eternal flame burns in memory of the great victory over the nazis. but here, there still appears step. i have come here undercover to investigate claims whether the regime tortures and murders its own people. in april last year, a bomb went
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off in the metro, killing 15 people. within 48 hours, the president went on tv to say they had got the bombers and the would face the most extreme punishment. their arrests were shown on prime-time tv. the names they were trying to get out of them -- >> the following month, the secretary general of interpol, an american, arrived in minsk and praised the investigation.
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>> i can tell all the systems of belarus -- belarus the this case was solved so quickly because the high professionalism of the police and officials, because of technology and the city tv's in place. and their relationship with countries on a bilateral and multilateral basis. >> four months later, the trial started with the accomplice and the bomber. and the guilty men were found guilty. but some in belarus were not convinced by what they say is a 21st century show trial. the bomb had gone off at rush- hour in october station, the city's busiest stop. it was belarus' seven seven. >> this is the tube stock or the
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bombing happened. the question is, who did it? >> one woman is running a lonely campaign to approve the two bombers were innocent. we drive three hours towards the russian border. her home is being watched by the kgb at the moment. she has told us the coast is clear, for now. >> this is the mother of the alleged bomber's accomplice. i put to her whether the two men have faced a fair trial. >> the court has not a single piece of proof of guilt, not only of my son who was a drug into this, but also of dima konovalov. he was tortured. >> for her, it starts with the president.
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>> he said that the boys had been interrogated. by 5:00, they had already gone first. they were interrogated without lawyers. over that time, they were beaten. the boys had no choice. otherwise, they would have been beaten more and more and more until they confessed. >> the two men were operated on tv, confessing to their crimes from a psychiatric ward. >> he came back into the room with a plastic remote control in his hands. he pressed it a few times and gave it to me to hold. he said it was a detonator for the bomb. >> so why would anybody confessed to bombing they had no
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part in? >> in december 2010, elections were held. yet again, president lukashenko claimed victory with four out of five votes. the opposition cried foul and hit the streets. a crack down started. 700 arrested, including seven presidential candidates. [shots fired] [blasts] >> opposition activist was picked up by the kgb that night. he fled the country, but he drew us a map of how to find what he claims is the regime's torture center.
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>> up two streets, you will see the whole entity. >> because i am here under cover, we cannot fail openly. but i followed directions and went through a stroll along the capital's main streets. >> [inaudible] >> this is the kgb head office, a very grand. but behind the fancy columns lies a secret prison. you cannot see it from the street, but you can from google earth. they call -- it is named after presidential cargo that stall in's secret police had my ear. where were the alleged bombers held on the night of their
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arrest? >> in there. to win the sentence was carried out, there will held at the kgb unit. >> what is it like being a guest there? >> first of all, it is a very small place. it has 18 rooms. >> when i first got there, somebody told me to look at the ceiling. and you can see what looks like the lid of a coffin in which he had been buried alive. >> night and day, guards wearing masks would enter the cell and drag the prisoners out. >> take them down stairs to a room where you are lined up against the wall, your legs stretched wide apart. they make sure your head is lowered and your legs are widely
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enough space doubt, enough so that the address you one by one. the rest stand there as you are stripped naked. >> another in may drew us a picture of the strip torture. he is still in belarus. >> [unintelligible] if your legs are not spread wide enough, they go even wider. >> to give me a flavor, the bbc decided i should take part in a little experiment. so we go to a coal store in north london where the temperature is -24 celsius.
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>> the guards forced the prisoners to strip naked and stand in this position, spread eagle, -20. there was snow outside. >> all this several times a day, night and day. >> turns out, this is torture. less than 40 seconds for the prisoners to ensure that but for 40 minutes. >> so is it possible that the kgb tortured confession out of the two? other prisoners there said they heard screams from the cells for the two men were being held, and in the middle of the night an ambulance was called. this lawyer in the white shirt
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started going through the cctv evidence praised by the men from interpol and soon began to pick holes in the official version. the time, 17:39. the bomber enters the metro carrying a black bag. clock the white mark on the bag. now you see the white mark? 17:44, now you do not. there is something immediately and obviously wrong about the official version. seven 17:45, another man walks past
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him and looks at him, and the bomber sets off after him. it is as if he is taking directions. >> 17:46, the bomber is apparently led by another man, turning abruptly in front of them in the tunnel. 17:48, the bomber walking down to the platform when the bomb goes off. clock the bag. the white market is back. -- mark is back. all of these questions about the cctv, he says, were blocked by the judge. one striking clash of evidence
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the defense wanted to run, the bomber seems tall, while dimir is short. the russian security service compared the bomber on a the cctv and dima. the conclusion? >> the man found with the bag in the metro and dima do not match. they're of different heights and build. they are different people. >> no forensic evidence at all linking either man with the bomb. >> no, there is no evidence. >> a spokesman for interpol denied the presumption of innocence was breached and disputed our analysis of the evidence. a statement said that it was concluded that the investigation
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was professionally conducted and that the arrests solve the case of who was criminally responsible for the bombing, advancing 1-sided false claims, it said, about murderous terrorist conduct can only undermine public confidence in the media. the judge dismissed the defense case, and in march this year, they were shot with a bullet in the back of the head. if he's right, then the president's the regime are in the dark of the execution for the two innocent men. in the question remains, if they did not bomb the metro, who did? one of the men in the shadows on the cctv, who in a police state can organize a bomb, who has a track record of political violence. one cannot rule out belarus state murdering its own people. i asked where she found her courage.
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>> it is not bravery. it is passion for the life of my son. i knew my son was not guilty. i knew dima was not guilty. but i was powerless against the authorities. i was not able to do anything. i was not able to save the children. i could not do anything. >> as the war in syria intensifies, there is a great humanitarian crisis across the region as thousands of refugees flee to nearby lands. jordan has seen more than 37,000 enter this week. the number hovered around 2,000 a day and the country took action. here is the report from jordan. >> after months of living in the war, moments of peace and quiet in this transit camp in jordan. but this is not the kind of park where children normally
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play, and the syrians here are still scared. most not want their faces shown. ahmed was studying english literature until the fighting was too much to bear. even the journey out was dangerous. >> so dangerous. about 7 miles walking. [inaudible] the army cover that we were going to jordan. >> 80 you feel safe in jordan? -- and do you feel safe? >> save, yes. comfort, no. >> there is a different struggle now. handouts are stressful. even if everyone is getting enough water and food. but this camp was set up for 800 people. 8000 have come here, forcing jordan to rethink its response.
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syrians had been allowed to leave these centers to stay with relatives or friends. not anymore. security forces guard all the exits. jordan is also shutting other transit camps. months ago when dozens crossed the border daily, this facility could handle the influx. >> it looks like the syrians to live here had to leave in a hurry, and they're probably did. authorities in jordan are struggling to keep pace with the intensity of the syrian crisis. these were meant to be temporary transit camps, but they became so overcrowded that the jordanians have had to find other places for the syrians to stay. >> this is where they are being moved, a tent city in the desert, about 15 miles from the syrian border. big enough to eventually give refuge to 100,000 syrians. the u.n. raced to put up tents,
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marking a new phase in sending a message -- jordan needs help. >> this is a country that is strained. the economy is already strained. it is taking a toll on education, health, energy, and water. we have had to play that balance to shoulder our responsibility towards our citren brethren and trying to cope with the strains on our economy. >> this kingdom has always been battered by its neighbors crises. jordan is particularly vulnerable now with the king under unprecedented pressure for reform. he was deputy prime minister during the iraq crisis a decade ago. >> there are two kinds of fears. one is the refugee problem which might spill over to jordan. we have gone through this before in the first gulf crisis, the second gulf crisis. more importantly, the political
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repercussions of the fall of the syrian regime. maybe an involvement of the opposition, particularly the brotherhood. a concern in jordan that this might spill over domestically as far as the political reform process is concerned. >> we used to be able to felt much closer to the syrian- jordanian border, but now the military is so concerned about the possibility of violence spilling across this border that they pushed us back. even from here, you can see syria and its military bases just on the other side. both sides are opening fire almost every day. this 6-year-old was the first syrian child to die in the exodus. killed by syrian troops as his family fled. jordanian soldiers responded with covering fire.
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i went to visit his mother in the border town. she and her two boys are now living with another syrian family here. they are all too scared to show their faces. >> there were 31 of us, and we reached the area between the jordanian and syrian borders. when we got there, suddenly we were fired upon. we were at the back of the group. suddenly i saw them on the ground. he fell down after the first shot. >> the drawings of children living in this house dealt terrible stories of violence that left behind. but this family fled months ago, and she tells me she will not go and live in the tented city. >> i will never live there. i will go back to live under gunfire rather than living in a tent. we will be breathing dust, not air. this is no life at all.
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>> even the u.n. admits no one would choose to live here. many refugees we met in transit centers are refusing to move in. syrians are still welcome, but this country realizes there visitors could be here for years. so jordan and now says jordan must come first. >> that was the report from the jordanian border with syria. to discuss the situation in syria, spoke to the u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs. i began by asking her what she made of kofi annan's decision to quit as the u.n. arab league joined a special envoy to syria -- was this a decision of the feet? i am sure he was usually frustrated. mediation is a very default -- difficult thing to do. we have seen in international community that is not united on syria. this makes it extraordinarily
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difficult to get to a point for the kinds of political things that we need to see, to make sure that we have a cease-fire and then to have some kind of process that ends with the will of the syrian people, this is a process that is lengthy, and you need a united international community to make it happen. >> and you talked about the finger-pointing and the name- calling in the fact that you did not receive the support. and the fact that the international community was not united. i mean, that sounds like defeat. >> i do not think it is defeat. i think it is an admission that he had got as far as he can. he was very clear today that perhaps having someone else might help the process. sometimes that happens, and he talked about the possibility of someone else being able to unite those in the region and unite the broader international community. >> who would that be in your
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mind? >> that is not for me to say. as secretary-general of the united states -- united nations, they will look at this and will come up with names. they will talk to people and come up with the right person to take this on. >> you have called very clearly for a humanitarian corridor. you'll not get that without a resolution from the security council. >> i have not, in effect, called for a humanitarian corridor. i have expressed my concerns that those who are calling for humanitarian corridor or a safe zone did not appreciate that if you're going to call for that, you have to be able to make them secure. i think the most important thing now, given that we have not got a cease-fire, is that we need some kind of humanitarian call for those who are affected by this violence who are not able to get out, who are caught up, perhaps cannot get access to medical supplies, cannot get
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access to food, we need a humanitarian force. in means stopping the fighting, both sides agreed to stop the fighting for a period of time so that the icrc, this year -- and others can go in. >> we have seen these calls for a cease-fire for the last two months. it clearly does not work. we are seeing a country ravaged by civil war now. >> it does not mean that you cannot continue to try to hold all sides to account. you have got a government, you have got an opposition who have to appreciate and understand that the action that they're taking is having a serious impact on ordinary men, women, and children. what's what you're saying now is we cannot do it with the security council, so we have to find ways without them. >> first of all, a ceasefire was called for in the six-point plan by kofi annan.
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it has not happened. in the absence of a permanent ceasefire, we have to have some kind of humanitarian cause because of what is happening to ordinary people on the ground. >> and this is a long-term problem that needs a long-term solution. >> this has been going on for more than a year. we know that these kinds of situations where you have a civil conflict, where you have this kind of internal war, can go on for a very, very long time. i do not have an estimate. the dialogue and discussion has to continue. we have to continue to try to get a diplomatic solution. the united nations was created because we wanted to put a stop to violence and conflict. we have to continue to press the diplomatic channels to try to make them work. >> the u.n. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs. that is all for this week. from all of us here, goodbye.
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>> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. andunion bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business. offering specialized solutions and capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations.
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what can we do for you? >> "bbc newsnight" was presented by kcet los angeles.
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